Detroit Pistons: 3 Pistons with the most to prove next season

Jerami Grant #9 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Jerami Grant #9 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Pistons
DETROIT, MICHIGAN – FEBRUARY 11: Jerami Grant #9 of the Detroit Pistons. (Photo by Leon Halip/Leon Halip) /

Detroit Pistons: Jerami Grant needs to prove he was not a one-year wonder

Jerami Grant’s first season with the Pistons was spectacular. The power forward averaged 22.3 points per game en route to a bid for the league’s Most Improved Player Award. While Grant would fall just short of both being named the league’s MIP and a selection to the All-Star team, he showed that he deserved the $60 million contract he signed last offseason.

As Grant enters year two with the Pistons, the biggest question for him is if his level of play can be sustained. Grant was the team’s leading scorer, but he did not post those scoring numbers on the best efficiency. Grant shot 42.9 percent from the floor and 35 percent from three-point range, not terrible but not great. If he can improve his scoring efficiency, it will be much easier for him to maintain a 20 or more points per game average in the coming seasons.

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The 27-year-old played really well for Detroit, but his leap in production came to the surprise of many. Besides the Pistons’ front office and coaching staff, not many people expected Grant to play as well as he did this past season.

This begs the question: Was this first season in Detroit a fluke?

That is very hard to determine. By all means, Grant’s level of play was far greater than anything he had shown in his previous seven seasons with other NBA franchises. Was his high level of play the product of him receiving an opportunity he was never given before, or was this a splash in the pan season that will unlikely be replicated? It is not outside the realm of possibility to think the latter.

There are numerous examples of one-year wonders in the NBA.

Former point guard Aaron Brooks put up his best season in the 2009-10 season with the Houston Rockets. Brooks put up 19.6 points on 35.6 minutes per game that season. The 6-0 guard would go on to win the MIP award that season as well. After that season, Brooks regressed to the mean and never averaged over 12 points or 29 minutes per game for the rest of his career.

Point guard Devin Harris had one spectacular year in New Jersey when he averaged 21.3 points with the Nets in 2008-09. That season he would also be named to his only All-Star selection. After the 2008-09 season, Harris’ numbers fell back to his then career averages before they dipped even further as the point guard aged.

None of this is an attempt to say that Grant will be the next one-year wonder in the NBA. Grant will continue to be a top-scoring option for the Pistons for the duration of his time here.

His mediocre efficiency is a concern for a player who is the team’s top-scoring option, and the Pistons front office hopes that adding a second scorer can help improve Grants shooting percentages.

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No one is expecting Grant to regress to the mean and revert to the overpaid role-player critics thought Detroit was going to be getting when they signed him to his $20 million per year contract. As long as Grant remains the number one or number two scoring option in Detroit, this is unlikely to ever be an issue. However, as Grant continues to make bids for the All-Star team, the 27-year-old will need to show that his high level of play this past season is sustainable moving forward.